After the flood

We arrive in Mauritius – only to face six days of torrential rain. It was quite an interesting experience. In all my years of visiting Mauritius, I have never experienced anything like it. It was almost as if we were hit by a mini-monsoon season. Essentially, Mauritius was a victim of a big anti depression to the south east. The entire region was covered in a blanket of low cloud and intense rain. 

 

Imagine the intensity of a cyclone’s rain but for a prolonged period of six days. It was pretty bad. There was no wind (arguably that’s what keep the weather hanging for so long). 

 

It’s gone now. And the weather has returned to normal. As I type it must be around 30c and sunny. (Heading off to the beach very soon). 

 

The impact of the weather was not without consequence. Two people were killed and the Education Minister was almost forced to resign. The schools were left open which may have been a contributing factor to a teenager’s death. Others drowned . View the story here (in French) .

 

I’ll be posting my pics on Flickr (if you are a member of my group)- keep tuned.

There can be no doubt that Apple’s SDK release for the iPhone / iPod touch is big. No, massive. Apart from the obvious benefits to consumers (third party apps coming in June), the SDK is a game changer for developers.

There can be no doubt that Apple’s SDK release for the iPhone / iPod touch is big. No, massive. Apart from the obvious benefits to consumers (third party apps coming in June), the SDK is a game changer for developers. 

 

In my view the biggest news was not so much the SDK itself but the incentives that will attract new and old developers to it. There are two incentives which, will guarantee an array of quality  developers:

 

  1. 1.   The 70/30 Developer/Apple ratio for sales of third party apps through iTunes.

  2. 2.   The iFund provided by KPCB to invest in fund-market changing ideas for the iPhone/touch     platform.

 

With more and better developers switching to iPhone/touch development, they are, in effect, developing software within Apple’s OS X Cocoa framework. So a bunch of developers, producing excellent software within the Cocoa environment. Let the iPhone SDK ‘halo effect’ begin. 

 

It would seem that the SDK might just be the development platform that takes OS X to the next level.  

keeping up with web 2.o and social networks

It felt liberating to ditch my Facebook account last week. I’ve moved on – Facebook was beginning to feel far too much like the new MySpace, which I often refer to as the trailer park of the web. Don’t get me wrong – the idea is great. But I am a bit of a tech snob – and alas Facebook feels a bit naff. You can only receive so many pokes and requests to add apps before it becomes tiresome. And I have reached that point. 

 

But my quest to find the ultimate social network continues. I am currently on Pownce  – and quite enjoying the experience. But I still find myself returning to Twitter. It’s simplicity and each of use give it the edge in my view. 

 

The folk over at CommonCraft are in the business of creating really elegant animation based video podcasts. Their mission – to explain social media to the masses. Their work is incredible and I’m a huge fan. 

 

My new smartphone revealed

2289225709_162fa17a9c_m.jpgFirst up – I didn’t choose an iPhone. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t easy. However, I decided that despite the Apple elegance, user interface and overall sex appeal I felt it fell too short of my requirements.  I opted for the Nokia E90.  

Why?

Of all the current smartphones on the market, there is no doubt that this is currently up there at the top in terms of functionality and appeal. The Nokia E90 is the flagship business cellphone from Nokia. It is the latest in their Nokia Communicator series and aimed squarely at the high-end business market. With a clamshell design, the E90 is essentially more a UMPC than a cellphone. A fully featured QWERTY keyboard, 3.5g and wifi connectivity along with the stability and reliability of the S60 OS this phone wants for very little.  In a bid to broaden its appeal the E90 also has a very respectable 3.2mp camera with flash. 

Cost

Given the spec of the E90 it is hard to come by in the high street. Only Vodafone and 02 currently offer it. I had no particular desire to switch from Three and sit on a expensive business tarrif on 02 or Vodafone. So what did I do? I opted for a sim free model.  

How?

I was due for a free upgrade from Three , so I went for the New Nokia 95 8GB. Once I got it, I sold it directly on Ebay for £300 or so. I then got a brand new E90 (for £400 on ebaY ) with the proceeds plus an extra £100. So effectively, I got the stunning E90 for a bargain £100. 

Not without hacking first 

Don’t get me wrong. This phone is without a doubt the best phone I have ever had. It really does feel like a natural evolution from my much loved Psion 5mx. However, despite the E90 being brand new and SIM free it took some major hacking to get the device up and running.  The issue I discovered was that the firmware on all UK E90’s is not the latest, and capped at an earlier version than the firmware available from Nokia.  This was creating some serious issues for me. It prevented me from installing third party apps and it would not let me port my Three settings. A simple upgrade I hear you say. Not so. Because the IMEI number relates to the UK it simply told me the firmware was the latest. I knew it wasn’t and if my E90 was to function correctly I needed the latest firmware. After some research, I discovered that I would need to re flash the device.  Not a difficult process I know. But the added complication was that I needed to firstly, trick the software into thinking my E90 was not a UK version. To do this I installed Nemesis Service Suite on my computer and begun the process of ‘spoofing’ my E90’s product code. I eventually succeeded. Once in place I ran the standard Nokia Suite and began the reflashing. It now works a charm.It sounds incredibly difficult, but actually it wasn’t. It did take a long time (several hours) but I suspect that was due to being forced to using my ailing tablet PC. It was worth all the effort and I now have a simply incredible device. I would like to credit the forums on All About Symbian for their helpful guide on how to reflash.

 You can find the instructions here.